The CROC program continues to gather momentum with Rob Blackmore and our on-the-road crew travelling in our cyber truck, Chuck. This time they headed off to the central NSW town of Dubbo. With plenty of recent rain, the countryside was green and lush, despite the chill of an early winter beginning to emerge.

Across Rob’s week in Dubbo a range of events were held including private sessions at retirement villages, aged care facilities, and public drop-ins. There was also extensive media interest in the visit and Rob was interviewed by the Dubbo Photo News,The Dubbo Liberal Newspaper, ABC Radio Central West and the local radio station, DCFM.

Rob speaking at Dubbo Kintyre Living over 55s

Rob also spent valuable time at the Dubbo Westpac branch. During this visit, Dave Eagan the manager was extremely welcoming and knowledgeable of the scam picture in the area. Rob and Dave spoke about the growing threat of scammers particularly in regional NSW with remote access, investment, credit card, Amazon and eBay scams being reflected in IDCARE’s data and Dave’s own lived experience at the local branch. During the visit, Rob met bank customers who spoke of a recent remote access scam resulting in around $2000 in loss. But it was the hardships of dealing with the aftermath and the difficulties trying to shore up their privacy and settings that was the key message. In fact, one of the customers suggested that many of his friends were similarly displeased at the constant barrage of scam attempts and that many are choosing to stay offline or go without a phone completely.

One of the attendees at the CROC clinic at Orana Mall, Narelle, shared her story of a PayPal scam shortly after starting a tie-dye clothing company. She used the quirky tactic of giving the scammers a fake email account “IAMASCAMMER”. She also discussed how her 86-year-old mother receives scam messages daily and worries she may not be aware of which ones are fake and which are scams.

During the weekend farmers’ market, IDCARE client Ray dropped in after reading about our visit in the local paper. Ray’s driver licence details were caught up in a data breach, and while the breached organisation arranged for the replacement of this credential, the burden for the rest of the response journey was left up to Ray. He decided not to do anything else as he found the whole system frustrating and truncated and was willing to take the risks.

These frustrations were shared by all who attended our clinics at various aged care homes. As always, engagement was very strong as many stories were shared from attendees about the various scams they had each encountered. Gift card scams, call centre or remote access scams, investment and cryptocurrency scams through Facebook and a range of recorded audio calls threatening arrest were discussed. Password management and storage as always were a good area of discussion with the same sentiment we are seeing from other seniors’ groups - a reluctance to use technology as much as possible with a real sense of fear that they might be next.

By providing a set of resilience building techniques to help prevent, detect and respond to cyber and identity issues, IDCARE was able to leave clinic participants feeling somewhat reassured and back in control.